Return of the Latin Mass to the Diocese of Knoxville


The modern-era traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese of Knoxville dates back to early 2004 when then-Bishop Joseph Kurtz granted an indult giving the special permission then required for celebration of the older form of Mass, and invited priests from the FSSP parish in Atlanta to commute to St. Stephen Church in Chattanooga, whose then-pastor Fr. P. J. McGinnity generously offered to host a monthly 5 pm Sunday TLM there.


The Traditional Latin Mass Returns to the City of Knoxville


In 2005 Bishop Kurtz approved a 1:30 pm Sunday TLM every other week at St. John Neumann Church, whose then-pastor Fr. John Dowling graciously agreed to host it. The opening paragraph of an account (click here) of that first Knoxville Latin Mass (photos here):


On the first Sunday of Advent in 2005, about 275 excited Catholics gathered at St. John Newman Church to attend Knoxville's first traditional Latin Mass in almost forty years. It seemed especially appropriate that November 27 was also Thanksgiving Sunday this year. Indeed, the entrance hall outside rang afterwards with expressions of joyous gratitude -- to Bishop Joseph Kurtz for his approval of this new indult Mass, to Fr. John Dowling for welcoming the Latin Mass as pastor of SJN, and to Fr. John Arthur Orr for celebrating this special old Mass that marked the biweekly renewal here of the ancient Latin liturgy of the Church. (Continue reading here.)




Fr. Orr and Fr. Dowling preparing for holy communion

at the first biweekly Knoxville TLM


Summorum Pontificum and the Weekly Latin Mass in Knoxville


On July 7, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI issued motu proprio the historic Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum that returned the ancient form of the traditional Latin Mass to regular status in the Church’s liturgy in order to foster “an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church”. Fr. Dowling responded promptly by scheduling a regular weekly 1:30 pm Sunday Latin Mass at St. John Neumann Church beginning with the actual implementation of Summorum Pontificum on September 14, 2007 (click here for photos of that first weekly TLM in Knoxville).




At first weekly TLM in Knoxville


After the old SJN church was closed and while the new SJN church was under construction, this weekly 1:30 pm Sunday Mass was transferred to St. Therese Church in Clinton where Fr. Orr was then pastor. In April 2008, Fr. Xavier Mankel generously agreed to host our first solemn high Mass with an overflow attendance of about 475 during the centennial celebration of Holy Ghost Church (photos here).




Opening procession for first solemn high Mass at Holy Ghost Church



When the Most Rev. Richard F. Stika was appointed as Bishop of Knoxville, he appointed Fr. Orr as associate pastor of Holy Ghost and moved the Knoxville Latin Mass to Holy Ghost Church, where Msgr. Mankel as pastor graciously added our 1:30 Latin Mass to the parish’s regular Sunday schedule, its Sunday morning Mass schedule having been set in concrete—as literally inscribed on the church’s foundation stone—since the present church was built in 1926.


Formation of the Knoxville Latin Mass Community


Along the way the Knoxville Latin Mass Community was established to serve as a vehicle to receive  contributions covering the special expenses of our Knoxville Latin Mass—apart from indirect support and parish overhead provided from regular parish offertory funds (with no direct parish support of the Latin Mass requested or received)—including all expenditures for additional items needed for reverent and beautiful celebration of the traditional Latin Mass, including:


Priestly vestments and cassocks and surplices for altar servers

Music expenses including stipends for choirmaster and organists, workshop travel

        expense, etc.

Equipment expense including altar missals and furnishings (e.g., missal stands, altar

        cards and altar linens), candlesticks, processional torches, bells and thuribles, etc.

     Missals, missalettes, and propers leaflets for congregational use

     Stipends for visiting and substitute Latin Mass priests

Expenses for special events (e.g. the recent first solemn Latin Mass and reception)



Cloth-of-gold vestments


For example, the costs of our several 13-piece solemn high Mass vestment sets in the various liturgical colors (gold, white, red, green, and black) ranged from about $5,000 each to somewhat more than that, with a comparable expenditure for additional requiem Mass furnishings including a black funeral pall and standing floor candlesticks; our ombrellino for Eucharistic processions and our gold altar crucifix cost around $2000 each; an altar missal or a set of 6 large altar candles may cost $500, and so forth.

The ombrellino


The value of the total property inventory of the Knoxville Latin Mass Community (KLMC) is somewhat more than $50,000, and its annual budget had typically totaled $20,000 or so. The KLMC assisted in the formation of the Tri-Cities Latin Mass Community (TCLMC) which supports the Latin Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Johnson City, and the KLMC budget includes the TCLMC budget since the Knoxville Community handles also the financial affairs of the Tri-Cities Community.



About the Knoxville Latin Mass Community


Click here for a brief statement of the Community’s general purpose and goals. The Knoxville Latin Mass Community (KLMC) is incorporated as a non-profit organization under the laws of the state of Tennessee and is approved under IRS section 501(c)(3) for receipt of tax-deductible contributions toward the support of the traditional Latin Mass in the Knoxville area.


The KLMC operates in accordance with its charter and bylaws under the oversight of a Board of Directors which elects officers and new members as needed.